Bill Summary for S 639 (2015-2016)

Summary date: 

Mar 31 2015

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
Senate Bill 639 (Public) Filed Thursday, March 26, 2015
AN ACT TO MODIFY THE MOTOR FUEL EXCISE TAX RATE, TO ESTABLISH A TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE ACCESS FEE, TO IMPOSE A ROAD USAGE TAX ON CERTAIN MOTOR CARRIERS, TO ELIMINATE THE STATUTORY TRANSFER OF PROCEEDS FROM THE MOTOR FUEL EXCISE TAX, AND TO PROHIBIT THE CONSTRUCTION OF TOLL PROJECTS UNLESS AUTHORIZED PURSUANT TO A LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFERENDUM.
Intro. by Tarte.

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Bill summary

Part I

Amends GS 105-449 (Tax rate)to provide a flat tax rate of (1) nineteen cents a gallon on diesel fuel and (2) nine cents a gallon on all other motor fuels. Deletes all other provisions of subsections (a), (b), and (c) of GS 105-449.80, which provided for variable components of the excise tax on motor fuel. Makes a conforming change to GS 105-449.107(c) (regarding determining the amount of state sales and use tax and local sales and use tax to be deducted from a motor fuel excise tax refund) to reflect the changes to GS 105-449.80 in this act. Also makes a conforming change to GS 150B-2(8a), deleting a reference to the variable components of the motor fuel excise tax previously included in GS 105-449.80. Effective for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2018.

Part II

Enacts GS 20-97.1 in Article 3 of GS Chapter 20 to establish a transportation infrastructure access fee. Provides that the fee is in addition to the fees imposed by GS 20-87 and GS 20-88. Bases the fee amount on the weight of the vehicle, providing a schedule of weights and fees in this section. Provides that the fees are due annually at the same time as the fees imposed under GS 20-87 and GS 20-88. Provides exceptions from application of this fee to (1) a mobile home that is subject to GS 20-87, (2) a semitrailer or trailer subject to GS 20-88(c), and (3) a motor vehicle eligible for a permanent registration plate under GS 20-84. Credits 25% of the total revenue collected from the per-vehicle fees imposed under subsection (a) of GS 20-97.1 to the North Carolina Highway Trust Fund. Credits the remainder of the fee revenue to the North Carolina Highway Fund. Prohibits any fee revenue collected under new GS 20-97.1 from being transferred to the General Fund or to other state agencies or departments. Restricts all fee revenue generated under this section to use by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and to transportation purposes only. Effective January 1, 2017, and applies to the registration and licensing of motor vehicles on or after that date.

Part III

Amends Article 36B of GS Chapter 105 to govern Taxes (was, Tax) on Motor Carriers. Adds new subsection (b) to GS 105-449.38 to provide weight group tax rates. Provides that the tax on the frequency of the motor carrier's use of the state's streets and highways is to be computed by multiplying the mileage of travel in this state by the appropriate weight group tax rate (shown in the tables in this subsection; tables indicate weight group in pounds and fee rates per mile). Provides that the declared combined weight of a motor carrier is to be determined in accordance with GS 20-88. Declares that the provisions of this section are not to be construed as prohibiting the assessment of other taxes and fees required by law. Restricts all revenue generated under this section to be use by the DOT and to transportation purposes only.

Amends GS 105-449.39 to provide that every motor carrier subject to the tax levied by Article 36B on the amount of motor vehicle fuel or alternative fuel used by the motor carrier is entitled to a credit on its quarterly return for tax paid by the carrier on fuel purchased in the state. Provides that the amount of the credit is determined using the motor fuel excise tax rate (was, using the flat cents per gallon rate and the variable cents per gallon rate of tax in effect). Amends GS 105-449.42 to provide that the amount of tax due on the frequency of the motor carrier's use of the streets and highways of this state is calculated in accordance with GS 105-449.38(b) for the quarter covered by the return. Makes additional conforming changes to reflect that this section as amended applies to taxes (was, singular tax).

Provides that Part III becomes effective for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2017.

Part IV

Amends GS 75A-3(c) to delete provision that credited motor fuel excise tax revenue to the Boating Account under GS 105-449.126. Amends GS 105-449.125 and 136-41.1(a) to conform with changes in this act to eliminate the statutory transfer of proceeds from the motor fuel excise tax and the transfer of the excise tax revenue collected only to the Highway Fund and the Highway Trust Fund. Amends GS 143-215.3A(a) to provide that any funds appropriated by the General Assembly from the Highway Fund to the Water and Air Quality Account (Account) must be used to administer the air quality program, making a conforming change deleting references to transfer to the Account revenue credited from GS 105-449.43, GS 105-449.125, and GS 105-449.136. Repeals GS 105-449.126; makes conforming changes deleting references to this statute. Makes conforming changes to GS 143-215.73F.

Beginning in the 2017-18 fiscal year, provides for appropriations of recurring funds from the Highway Fund according to the following schedule: (1) $146,640,000 to the Department of Transportation; (2) $2,350,000 to the Wildlife Resources Fund; (3) $8,359,063 to the Water and Air Quality Account; (4) $2,350,000 to the Shallow Draft Navigation Channel Dredging and Lake Maintenance Fund; (5) $15,882,219 to the Commercial Leaking Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund; and (6) $2,507,719 to the Noncommercial Leaking Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund.

Effective July 1, 2017.

Part V

Amends GS 136-11.1 to prohibit, effective August 1, 2015, the DOT or the Turnpike Authority from establishing or constructing a road, bridge, or tunnel project to be financed with tolls, user fees, or any direct charges to users of the road, bridge, or tunnel unless the project is approved by a majority of voters in each of the counties in which the transportation project will be located. Provides that the election is to be held on a date that is jointly agreed upon by the DOT or the Turnpike Authority, whichever is applicable, and the county board or boards of elections, and commissioners of the affected county or counties and a date that is in accordance with the procedures of GS 163-287.

Amends GS 136-18 (Power of Department of Transportation), GS 136-89.183 (Powers of the Authority), GS 136-89.198 (Authority to toll existing interstate highways), and GS 136-89.199 (Designation of high-occupancy toll and managed lanes) to conform these statutes with the provisions of GS 136-11.1, as amended by this act. Amends GS 136-89.211 (Tolls for use of Turnpike project) to prohibit the Turnpike Authority from establishing a new toll or increasing an existing toll after August 1, 2015, except (1) as necessary to satisfy construction bonds and other contractual obligations made prior to August 1, 2015, or (2) unless authorized via a referendum as required under GS 136-11.1, as amended by this act.

Makes a clarifying change to GS 136-89.212.

Provides that all projects programmed in the five-year State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) are to be completed on schedule.

Part 5 is effective August 1, 2015.

Specifies that the headings in this act are offered as a convenience to the reader, for reference only, and not as substantive content to define, expand, or limit the text of this act.

Provides that except as otherwise provided, this act is effective when it becomes law.

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